The Cowboys have assured Mike McCarthy he will remain their head coach in 2022.
The assurance came as early as in conversations after the Cowboys’ 23-17 wild-card loss to the San Francisco 49ers and as recently as this week after Saints coach Sean Payton announced he was stepping down, a person with knowledge of the conversations told USA TODAY Sports. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly disclose the information.
So as questions have externally swirled about McCarthy’s job security, internally the Cowboys coach has been “focusing on exit interviews and evaluations of players and staff,” the person said.
One evaluation became easier Thursday.
Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is remaining with the Cowboys for the 2022 season after interviewing for several head-coaching vacancies, a person with knowledge of Quinn’s decision confirmed to USA TODAY Sports. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly disclose the information.
Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who has also interviewed for several of the league’s nine head-coaching transitions, could also return as teams including the Broncos and Bears have begun to fill their positions with other candidates. Moore is one of three finalists for the Dolphins opening, according to multiple reports.
The Cowboys won the NFC East and finished 12-5 before their wild-card loss in McCarthy’s second season in Dallas. Under the 13-year Green Bay head coach, Dallas led the league in points scored, offensive yards and takeaways this season.
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But postseason success eluded them. The Cowboys were the only team to lose at home in the wild-card round. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones publicly expressed his displeasure. Jones, also the team’s general manager, declined to publicly endorse McCarthy in radio interviews last Friday.
“I’m not going to get into any conversations that I’ve had with anybody relative to anything to do with the staff,” Jones said on Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan in response to a question about McCarthy’s job security. “So I’ve got a lot to think about regarding these coaches. I’ve got a lot to think about regarding these scouts. I’ve got a lot to think about regarding various aspects of this organization.
“It’s just not in our best interest to talk about where we are with the staff right now.”
Jones said he was “very, very frustrated and upset that…we have used up some very talented players of the last couple years.”
“If I thought changing out men at any level would improve us,” he added on radio, “I would change it out.”
Nearly a week later, the Cowboys have not made a coaching change. Payton’s New Orleans departure, and his 92-minute exit news conference, came and went, though the coach clarified he did not expect to be running any team this year. Rumors swirled but McCarthy’s assurance from the Cowboys remained intact: He will be Dallas’ head coach in 2022.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.